There truly is nothing like taking I-25 down into Albuquerque, New Mexico in the middle of summer, I thought bitterly.
This drive always brought back memories from when I was a kid. Partially because my dad and I always took this road out of New Mexico when traveling, but also because it never changes.
The sun seemed to always be shining relentlessly on the already painfully dry desert, the drivers were idiots, weaving in and out of traffic at highway speeds without their blinkers and the air conditioner was unsuccessfully battling the heat that was coming through my very un-tinted windows in what felt like actual waves. Yup, nothing’s changed. I put on my blinker to move into the passing lane, checked my mirror and then glided over.
I moved out of New Mexico when I was twenty-one with no intentions to go back. New Mexico was always a bit of a financial mess to me. The schools were poor, the public anything was always a mess and underfunded, and of course, when there’s a lack of money, there’s lots of crime. Growing up, I lived on a really good part of town, and we still got our cars broken into twice. Hell, one morning, my dad woke up to find that the tires had been stolen right off his truck- while it sat in our driveway, not even ten feet from the front door.
The people weren’t that great either. Sure, it was hella diverse and ethnic or whatever, but when you’re the only white kid in a class of 28, you get picked on a lot for “reflecting in the sun” or not being able to tolerate spicy food. Not a big deal, but enough to be annoying after 13 years of school. There was also this giant divide in the population involving politics. Because New Mexico is mostly democratic, if you’re an open republican, be prepared for the worst. Peoples back windows have been smashed in for having right leaning bumper stickers.
To top it off, I’ve been told that I can’t buy alcohol without an ID issued in the United States in multiple cities across this country before. That’s always a fun conversation to have, and it often ends with me leaving, determined to find a clerk who knows basic seventh grade geography.
There are some things I think New Mexico has going for it, like the outstandingly beautiful sunsets and rises and the pretty tame weather, but at the end of the day, the half of the population that can look over the high crime and bad school systems love New Mexico, and the half that can’t it is dying to get out.
I’d been part of the half that was dying to get out.
So why the heck was I coming back?
I shook my head as I passed the Sandia Resort and Casino, one of the first signs that you’re getting close to Albuquerque. That was a damn good question.